Mon, 18 Jan 2021

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria.

"Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective", Mr Peters says.

"While we acknowledge Turkey's domestic security concerns, Turkey's cross-border actions risk harming civilian populations, causing further instability and exacerbating humanitarian needs. The actions also undermine gains made in the fight against ISIL (Da'esh), which the Global Coalition and its local partners have fought so hard to achieve."

Mr Peters noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had raised its concerns directly with the Turkish Ambassador.

"Despite the loss of territory once held by Da'esh, the group remains a threat and there are real risks that Da'esh may take advantage of the Turkish offensive to re-establish itself in Syria.

"We call on Turkey to comply with international law, including the UN Charter and international humanitarian law.

"We urge all parties to exercise restraint and to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria. This is the only way to bring peace to the people of Syria", says Mr Peters.

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